Growth, schools, health care issues in 11th

7 Democrats, 3 in GOP seek primary nominations for three delegate posts

August 28, 2002|By Jonathan D. Rockoff | Jonathan D. Rockoff,SUN STAFF

Controlling growth, improving schools and bettering health care are the main issues in the House of Delegates campaign in the 11th District, which features an eclectic mix of races and income groups in an area stretching from Pikesville to Owings Mills, the Howard County line to Mays Chapel.

Ten candidates - seven Democrats and three Republicans - are vying to represent the largely Democratic district's 67,360 registered voters. Two incumbents, Dels. Dan K. Morhaim and Del. Robert A. Zirkin, both Democrats from Owings Mills, have amassed large campaign funds and are widely expected to retake their seats.

It is the third seat, vacated by Michael J. Finifter when he was named a Circuit Court judge, that is considered up for grabs. The Republican and Democratic primaries are Sept. 10.

An emergency-room doctor, Morhaim, 53, is seeking his third term. "I want to continue to build on the record, and continue to deal with the issues that I've worked on the last eight years," the Democrat says.

Morhaim says he has secured millions for the treatment of drug addicts, forced diesel trucks to undergo emissions testing and saved Baltimore County schools $2.1 million annually by establishing a "buying consortium" so school systems could join together to purchase textbooks and supplies.

Morhaim's priorities include instituting more preventive medicine to cut Medicaid costs and making sure development is "environmentally intelligent."

One-term incumbent

Zirkin, 31, is seeking a second term in the House of Delegates. During his first term, Zirkin says, he worked to reduce class sizes and establish a pilot program in Baltimore and Prince George's counties offering small summer classes to help students improve test scores.

If re-elected, Zirkin, a graduate of Pikesville High School, says he wants to further reduce class sizes, secure a new middle school in Owings Mills and foster Smart Growth in Owings Mills. "The growth they have down pat here - the problem is the smart," he says.

Del. Dana M. Stein, a Democrat appointed in June to complete Finifter's term, is an Ivy League-educated lawyer who also has a master's degree in public affairs. In 1992, he founded Civic Works, similar to an urban Peace Corps, with now-Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend; he is the president and executive director.

Stein ran unsuccessfully for County Council in 1994. As a delegate, he says, he would push for a new middle school in Owings Mills and work for a prescription drug benefit for seniors. "I feel my background in public service ... gives me a good background to serve," says Stein, 43, of Pikesville, a Milford Mill High School graduate.

Jon S. Cardin, 32, of Lutherville says he will be elected based on his goals, not the name recognition generated by his uncle, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.

A 1988 graduate of Park School in Brooklandville, Cardin, a lawyer with a graduate degree in public policy, has been active in Jewish philanthropy with the Baltimore Jewish Council and Project Judaica.

Cardin, a Democrat, would like to see more parental involvement and less emphasis on standardized testing in the schools. He also favors a prescription drug program for seniors and "responsible growth."

"We need to have a long-term plan for development in the county that makes sense and will move us into a phase where we will not create more congestion and redevelop the inner-suburban communities in smart ways," he says.

A former delegate

Theodore Levin, 57, a lawyer from Pikesville, was a delegate from 1975 to 1995. He says his crowning achievement was getting a law enacted requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Mentioning the events of Sept. 11, Levin says he wants to return to Annapolis at "a historic time. ... I want to be involved." The Democrat says the county needs new schools to alleviate crowding and must reduce traffic congestion. He wants to revise the state tax code so certain taxes go to specific purposes, such as schools.

"If I make my mark in school history, it would be doing battle with state funding and the tax code," Levin says.

Melvin G. Mintz, a two-term county councilman and unsuccessful candidate for county executive, says he would build on his council work controlling growth and getting the school system to pay more attention to parent and teacher input.

While on the council from 1986 to 1994, Mintz, 55, a physical therapist from Pikesville, sought to cut property taxes by a penny or two every year.

Community college dean

Barney J. Wilson, 43, dean of learning and student development at the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, has owned a landscaping company, taught business and was a regional director for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Democrat lost a race for Congress in 1996. If elected, Wilson says, he would lobby to reduce school crowding by building two middle schools in the district and support more funding for high schools.

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